I have always enjoyed the tradition of setting up thoughtful, useful and achievable New Year's resolutions. In December 2016 I made a change to my normal ritual and went for something more holistic and resonant. I spent time deciding upon a word for 2017. A delightful self discovery and development project devised by Susannah Conway, this process has a magic to it that set me up for the year so effectively. My word for this year is 'becoming'.
Finding your word is all about setting intentions, meditating on the energy and focus you want for the coming year. Getting to the bottom of what you really want and what feels important to you. You hold your word in your mind for the year and return to it as the months turn over. I did the journaling work around my word in my diary, so every so often during this year I have flipped back to see what I listed as my 'want more of' items and other reflections. It has been so grounding to return to my lists and notes and to feel the little spells written in my book coming to pass.
Knowing that I wanted to have my written journaling work to hand through the coming year meant that I went out and searched for a diary that I felt an affinity with, with an elegant cover and space to write and draw. I started a new tradition to do this each year from now on; rather than going for the cheapest and most functional diary I can find. It felt like an investment in the belief that this year would be important. I set time aside to find my word, working through my own twists on Susannah's thoughtfully put together (and rule free) exercises just before Christmas and on New Year's Eve. The gap between Christmas and New Year is always a reflective time. It feels really important to make time to understand where you are now and how you would like to move forward in time for the fresh start in January.
Things have shifted for me this year. 'Becoming' to me, is a kind word, a word about behaving well and appearing in my best light. 'Becoming' is also an action word. I have felt it by my side as I have made important decisions, from speaking out about difficult issues to making career decisions. 'Becoming' has allowed me to grow, to be in process, on the way to something.
.Setting intentions appropriately is an important part of the achievement of them. It seems simple: You make a decision about what you want and how you want it to look and then take action. Writing a list or impulsively selecting a New Year's resolution sometimes isn't enough to get things done. Intentions that have value - your value within them - sometimes need a bit more depth.
The process of choosing my word for this year was a ritual. A mediation on my own path and desire to move forward in a particular way. Using the set prompts, I developed a resource of words and thoughts and gradually brought 'Becoming' to my own attention. This powerful work sewed a viable seed which I have been tending all year. I believe the exercises and the honouring of my intent by undergoing a process of seeking out my word, were necessary mental preparation for this year. 'Becoming' has been a bridge to change. I don't believe 'becoming' would have had nearly so much impact if I hadn't examined what I wanted from it, what it means to me and what I wanted my year to look like.
Writing has power to it, write something down and you are far more likely to achieve it. Not just because it's how you remember, but because in writing it down you are saying it out loud. You are creating a contract for your self. Giving yourself time to act upon what you have committed to is of equal importance. The ritual around identifying and understanding what you really want and how it will improve your life should be in depth and stretching. It should be the prelude to isolating your intentions. When things get tough around working towards what you really want, its the solid preparation and work around identifying your own values that will help to see you through and finish achieving what's on your list.
- What do you want to start working towards next?
- How do you know that this is what you really want? How will it improve your life?
- Could you write yourself a postcard telling yourself the 'why' and 'what' of this dream, a postcard which you keep somewhere handy to check up on over the next 6 months/year?